Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dale City Farmer's Market: Spring Addition

It's baaaack!
While it has been going on all winter with limited hours and a smaller number of vendors, the market is now back in full force for the regular spring/summer/fall hours of 8-1pm.  Giving us time to get there before church.  I have even started running up to the market and having the boys meet me there.  Which is kind of remarkable because I've always hated to run and I could barely make it walking there and back when we first moved here months ago (there is quite a hill, in my defense). 

If you can't tell by the fact that this is the third time I've posted on it, I'm kind of in love with the Dale City Farmer's Market.  I realized that there is such a difference in the market between each season, that is was worth posting on each of them.  Now that we live somewhere with our own outdoor spaces, the spring market just might be my favorite.  I had never thought about all the plant seedlings that would be available in the springtime, and love seeing all the different kinds of flowers as well.

I tried to make a list of what plants were available last week, though I'm sure I missed some.  They included:  basil, cilantro, garlic, chives, rosemary, lemon grass, rhubarb, bell peppers, eggplant, tomato, tomatillo, oregano, sage, thyme, mint, parsley, cucumber, spinach, kale, sunflowers, and watermelon.

Additionally, there are normally meat, seafood, eggs, honey, pickles, and cheese available from vendors.  Already prepared foods include apple cider donuts, kettle corn, cheesecake, salsa, mini-waffles and gallettes (see photo below), breads, pies, and pastries, sorbet, salad dressing, spice blends, and middle eastern foods.
 If they can't stop to smile, you know the food is good.

As of the beginning of May, strawberries, spring onions, greens, and asparagus have arrived as well!  And each week only seems to get better!
You can find out more about the market here Winter Market and here Summer Market.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Washington's River Farm

Sometimes the hustle and bustle (and traffic and masses of people) in DC can be a little too much to handle for a full day out with my two boys.  So I was very pleased to find a quiet little oasis where we can spend some time out in the fresh air just a few minutes from my husband's work.  It made for a good place to end the day before we pick him back up.  

River Farm is apparently a property that belonged to George Washington at some point, and can be found off the beautiful George Washington Memorial Parkway between Mt. Vernon and Alexandria.  Home of the American Horticultural Society, it has several gardens and a beautiful estate house that can be toured free of cost (or by donation). 

While we were chatting about the gardens, I told Theodore to try to remember the flowers I liked in case he wanted to pick out some for me for a gift for Mother's Day.  He told me that he had a special gift for me already, that "Love is the best gift!"  He is such a loving little guy (but his dad had him pick out flowers anyway, plus he made a beautiful bracelet and jewelry box at school).

The best part of the farm for us was the children's garden, with plenty of things for the boys to climb in, on, or around.  And they even had enough "houses" for us to re-enact the three little pigs (yes, he is still doing this!). 

We'll definitely be back and pull out the picnic blanket to have lunch or a snack there overlooking the beautiful Potomac River.  Perhaps we'll even make a stop when we finally hike the Mt. Vernon trail which passes nearby as well.

Visiting Tips:
There is an indoor, public bathroom.
Like nearby Alexandria, the farm is pet-friendly.
There is a book-store you can shop, but with limited hours (T & TH 11-2).

Monday, May 5, 2014

Theodore's Reading List: Age 4, Train Edition

Theo recently picked the book, "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" by Richard Scarry to take to show-and-tell as his favorite book.  Since I'm almost due for his annual book list, I decided I would limit it to just his favorite train books for this one.  It's harder to tell his favorites because he likes a variety of books now.  Eli however just started into the phase where he wants every book repeated over and over again,  so he has filled that vacancy.

Some of our favorite train books include:

Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection, by the Rev. W. Awdry.   Though Theo has several Thomas books (some more interactive than others) this is the mother of all Thomas books.  This collection contains over 500 pages of the originals stories.  It has been read nightly for months at a time, and has been well loved.  We're going to need to find a way to rebind it soon.

The Turkey Train, by Steve Metzger.  We bought this one last fall, and have been enjoying it ever since.  It's a great little rhyming story about turkeys on a trip to Maine.  I was surprised to read that their starting destination was Ft. Wayne, the "big city" near my hometown, so I liked the book even more.  

Locomotive, by Brian Floca.  I picked up this one to add to my Caldecott collection.  It is quite wordy for a four year old, but Theo has never been bothered by a long story.  He said his favorite part of this one is all the sounds the train makes as it crosses the country.  It's got quite a bit of information about how the locomotive helped the country grow.

Freight Train, by Donald Crews.  Another Caldecott that falls in the train genre, this is a beautiful book.  The simple story about a train going across tracks, with all the cars identified by color and type.

How to Train a Train, by James Carter Eaton.  Theo gets a kick out of this story, that is a handbook for how to get a train to be your pet.

I Love Trains, by Philemon Sturges.  I picked this one up at the museum last weekend.  It's a pretty simple story about a boy waiting for his father to come home on a caboose.  My favorite part though, were the additional illustrations in the book covers that label the different kinds of cars and tells you what each is used for.

Choo Choo, by Virginia Lee Burton.  This is the story of a little engine who ran away, written by one of our favorite "vintage" authors.  The book was written in 1937 but is still relevant today.  Though black and white, the illustrations still capture the boys attentions.

Trains, by Byron Barton.  This simple book was pulled out by the librarian when Theo asked for help finding the train books.  Though he is fine talking to strangers on the street, he always becomes shy when talking to librarians.  But, he loved going around with her and pulling out all the train books she could find.  This one would be best as a little beginner board book.

And this concludes my train posts, see our trip to B&O Museum for Thomas's Day Out and our recommendation for a train heavy exhibit at the American History Museum if you missed the other two posts in this series.